Buying a house is a full-contact sport

I lost a pretty tough bid on a house this weekend. I thought we were being aggressive offering $25k over asking, covering any appraisal shortfalls and giving a $1k option. We still got outbid though. The winning bid was $35k over asking no diligence period, waiving any inspection or financing contingencies. The house was only on the market 2 days.

When I played football, we had a phrase for when someone got hit so hard they were knocked off their feet—decleated. I got decleated on that bid, and I don’t intend to let that happen again. I wouldn’t have waived inspection, but would I have paid $40k or $50k over asking to win that bid? If that is what it would have taken, I probably would have.

What’s going to be different going forward?

  • Urgency—on a good house, we’re going to try and be the first bid. I’ve got Zillow alerts set up, I’ve asked my agent to be on the lookout for coming soon listings or word from other colleagues. I intend to go look at the house immediately.

  • Timeline—Be aggressive on how long the offer is good for. Make a strong offer and have it expire before any open house if possible.

  • Offer price—I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of houses we like and what they’ve listed and sold for. I’ve got a List/Sell ratio, which is similar to the comparables agents keep tabs on. The L/S ratio in the area was 1.05 to 1.06. The house needed no work and was move in ready—that’s worth something. I should have known better.